Because you're not! And these small glimpses into the larger truth about you, and your fellow humans, prove it.
By Leigh Newman
The Reminder: "When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it's four a.m. and no one goes to bed." Or any of times that, as the late Marina Keegan describes in her book The Opposite of Loneliness, you have this feeling that there are "an abundance of people, who are in this together." Even if, as we all know, it's never discussed as it happens and is only understood much, much later.
The Reminder: When you realize there are lots of other people out there in the world who also totally bomb out at making snow marbles, mini caramel apples and all those other amazing crafty projects that appear on Pinterest (all of which, just so you know, are posted by off-duty elves from Santa's workshop).
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The Reminder: When a co-worker you don't know too well hands you a cup of coffee in this mug, leading to a discussion about photography. And suddenly, you realize you're not the only one in the office who shoots pictures during lunch.
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The Reminder: When you're going through a hard time and carry a novel around in public (specifically: First You Try Everything) to shield your face in case you burst into tears—and then you read this paragraph in the novel about a woman going through a breakup who listens to the radio too loud because..."lately, she needed an auditory shelter from her own thoughts." And you think, "Thank you." Because yes, we all struggle with that mean, bullyish voices in our head, but you've finally found a real (yet fictional) friend with the courage to discuss it.
The Reminder: When your yoga teacher wobbles mid-tree pose—and yes, this really happened—and explains to the whole class that she is just having one of those days when she can't balance on one leg.
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The Reminder: When you type in "afraid of m" and the search engine immediately fills in not "mice" or "men," but "monsters." Which is what you were looking for, believing (erroneously) that no other 43-year-old mother of two on earth would still have to look under the bed before getting in bed to go to sleep.
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The Reminder: When you find someone else's grocery list in the seat of an empty cart and see she has put all kinds of emotional grammar into it, such as, "WHIPPED cream (not in can), 2 dozen eggs (check for broken, remember last week), BREAKFAST CEREAL FOR GOD'S SAKE!, apples, fish, no chips, no chips, no chips, I mean it, dark chocolate, soap!" You do not write lists like this or lists at all. But you realize this one is the list you would write if you got organized (which is NEVER going to happen!) and wrote one.
The Reminder: When the words, "I completely agree," come out of another person's mouth and the universe suddenly shifts. You are not the only one who thinks that butter is a health food, that dogs not only have a sense of humor but also a dry wit and that a day can turn around for you on the tiniest of miracles, including a free perfume sample.